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Nest camera hacker threatens to kidnap baby, spooks parents

"I’m in your baby’s room," the hacker said. But the baby was alone and safe.
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A Texas mom says someone hacked into the wireless camera system used to keep an eye on her infant son and threatened to kidnap the baby.

Ellen Rigney was in bed with her husband Sunday night in their Houston home when she heard a noise coming from the Nest camera connected to her 4-month-old son Topper's room. First, she thought it was a carbon monoxide alert, but then "we heard sexual expletives being said in his room," she told NBC affiliate KPRC.

She and her husband sprang out of bed and turned on their bedroom light when another Nest camera in their room, which was turned off, suddenly switched on and a man's voice told them to turn the light off.

“Then he said 'I’m going to kidnap your baby. I’m in your baby’s room,'” Rigney said.

But when they got to Topper's room, he was right where they had left him and alone.

"He’s not in here, somebody’s hacking this," Rigney told her husband. They immediately shut down their Wi-Fi and called police.

Rigney also notified Nest, but she said people there “were no help at all," and “did not apologize.”

She threw out the Nest cameras and now is relying on a camera that doesn't use Wi-Fi in order to monitor her son.

"It’s unnerving and unsettling,” Rigney said. "You have something that’s supposed to make you feel better, and instead it makes you feel the opposite."

In a statement to NBC News, Nest said the company has "seen instances where Nest customers have reused passwords that were previously exposed through breaches on other websites and made public."

"None of these breaches involved Nest," the statement said.

Nest encouraged customers to set up "set up two-factor authentication" on their cameras. Two-factor authentication is a security feature that sends a unique code to a user, often to their smartphone, in order to verify their identity.